On War and Leadership: The Words of Combat Commanders from Frederick the Great to Norman Schwarzkopf

By Kane, Robert B. | Air & Space Power Journal, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

On War and Leadership: The Words of Combat Commanders from Frederick the Great to Norman Schwarzkopf


Kane, Robert B., Air & Space Power Journal


On War and Leadership: The Words of Combat Commanders from Frederick the Great to Norman Schwarzkopf by Owen Connelly. Princeton University Press (http://www.pupress.princeton. edu), 41 William Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540-5237, 2002, 368 pages, $29.95 (hardcover).

Given the numerous published works on leadership in general and leadership in combat in particular, I initially thought that Dr. Connelly's book would provide little additional advice on combat leadership. Reading the book confirmed some of my initial thoughts; that is, it does not really provide any great new revelations about leadership in combat. However, the book still has significant value because it confirms the most important aspects of leadership in combat from 20 of the world's most accomplished commanders-men who actually led troops at the operational and tactical levels of combat.

Dr. Connelly is well qualified to produce this book. He is the McKissick Dial Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, an ex-US Army Ranger captain, and the author of numerous books on the French Revolution and Napoleon. Clearly, he brings a great deal of authority and experience to his task.

The author draws most of the book's content from the actual writings of past commanders or from interviews with the ones who are still alive. Most importantly, these men were not "armchair" commanders, observing their soldiers in combat "from afar," but were there themselves in the heat of battle. …

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